ELK HORN — 2019 is the 41st anniversary of the Danish Villages’ annual Christmas celebration called Julefest, which will be held on Friday and Saturday. The important elements of a Danish Christmas — good food, warm hospitality, flickering candles and other decorations — will all be a part of this event in Elk Horn and Kimballton.
There are unique shops, specialty stores, a winery, museums, Christmas exhibits and two craft fairs for early holiday shopping, as well as food establishments serving pastries, breads, candies, and Danish specialties. There are more than 21 locations offering one-of-a-kind gifts and foods.
Again this year, the annual Naughty or Nisse 5K Polar Run will be held at 9 am. Saturday. The run will be from the Little Mermaid in Kimballton to the Danish Windmill in Elk Horn. Runners will be dressed up in Nisse (Elf) Costumes, ugly sweaters, or other silly costumes of their choice for chances to win prizes.
Don’t miss Santa Claus roaming around the Danish Villages as well.
The museums and historic structures welcome visitors with special events and decorations. Come tour the Museum of Danish America and view their new exhibits and the Museum Design store stocked with tastefully designed merchandise and discounted items. There is also a Lego play area for kids of all ages and complimentary refreshments will be served. The Genealogy Center will be open both Friday and Saturday with free admission. Discover how to research and collect information on your Danish family history. Christmas activities will also be available and Pebernødder and wassail will be served. The historic 171-year-old, newly restored Danish Windmill will serve glögg and Danish cheese to visitors and have an old fashion Julemarket. Bedstemor’s House, Danish for Grandmother’s House, will welcome visitors with a warm fire. The parlor’s Christmas tree will be decorated with homemade paper ornaments like Julehjerte, chains, fish, and roses.
The Elk Horn Town Hall features Iowa Homespun Crafters at the 24th annual Main Street Country Boutique. There you will find many unique items, including candles, re-purposed furniture, signs, quilts, baked goods and more. Again this year, the Kimballton Town Hall will host “A Hometown Christmas”, featuring local homemade candies and cookies, along with a variety of vendors. Enjoy the specialty shops, winery, restaurants, tea room, in the villages. Unusual and unexpected accessories, decorations, gifts, furniture, and more.
Free pancake breakfast by the Better Elk Horn Club will be held from 8 to 10 a.m. Saturday morning at the Elk Horn Fire Station.
Both villages will be decorated for Christmas and the streets lined with Danish and American flags. To really get you into the Christmas spirit attend the free, annual Christmas concert, at 7 p.m. followed by traditional dancing and singing around the Christmas tree at the Elk Horn Lutheran Church on Saturday evening.
Pick up a brochure with a map of the local merchants and happenings at any of the Danish Villages businesses. Contact the Danish Windmill at 800-451-7960 or visit danishvillages.com for an electronic copy of the brochure and more information.
Elk Horn and Kimballton are located in southwest Iowa, off Interstate 80, six and nine miles north of Exit 54.